Global health challenges



As a science-driven industry that aims to address some of the world’s biggest healthcare challenges, the biopharmaceutical industry is uniquely positioned to respond to COVID-19.

On March 11 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In the nearly two years since, the biopharmaceutical industry, together with global multi-sectoral stakeholders, have been working to produce and disseminate vaccines and therapeutics to protect and save lives.

The declaration of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020 marked the beginning of one of the largest global health emergencies of our time and led to a huge loss of life and strain on already challenged health systems.

While we have so far seen the largest immunization campaign in history – following the discovery of a COVID-19 vaccine in just 326 days – there is still much to be done to achieve COVID-19 vaccine equity. The biopharmaceutical industry is not standing still.

Today, more than 12 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been produced worldwide, facilitated by over 350 partnerships, voluntary licenses, and technology transfers, and resulting in more than 60 percent of the population at least partially vaccinated. These collaborations led to historic production of both vaccines and treatments, but the issue of turning vaccines into vaccinations remains, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

In May 2021, IFPMA members committed to Five Steps to ensure vaccine equity, from dose sharing and optimized production to calling for the removal of trade barriers, country readiness, and further innovation. To redouble efforts to turn vaccines into vaccinations, in collaboration across key stakeholders, innovative biopharmaceutical companies announced a renewed commitment to Three Priorities to urgently increase access to COVID-19: country readiness, equitable distribution, and innovation in February 2022.

IFPMA is also a founding partner of the ACT-Accelerator and are fully committed to the goal of the COVAX pillar to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines. The industry brings unique expertise in research, development and manufacturing of diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines to the table.

Finally, IFPMA and its members are determined to translate lessons learned from this pandemic into pandemic preparedness. We are constantly innovating, using the power of science to help us get ahead of this pandemic, and the next one.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause light illnesses, such as the common cold, to more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans, with catastrophic global health outcomes.


COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by WHO

More than 12 billion

COVID-19 vaccines produced

More than 350

collaborations, voluntary licenses, and technology transfers

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